Steinberg introduced Sequel, its own GarageBand competitor at Franfurt's Musicmesse Expo yesterday.

Like GarageBand, Sequel will keep compositions in the right key, pitch and tempo, so users don't need to be musicians to make music. It will record up to eight simulatenous live audio tracks, and supports an unlimited number of digitally-created tracks (limited by processor power).

The software ships with 5,000 loops and 600 instruments and includes hundreds of pre-defined style categories, ranging from classical to indie to world music styles.

Sequel offers users all the tools they require to create their own tracks, including beats and musical instrument collections. Audio is created at 16- or 24-bits at 44.1kHz (CD quality).

A number of editing tools feature in Sequel, which offers a SmartTool which changes its function depending on mouse position. Use SmartTool to Move, Trim, Cut, Copy, Loop, and Mute/Unmute tracks.

There's also an Audio Editor with realtime audio warp functions (realtime time stretching and pitch shifting); a variety of warp modes, a key editor for internal instruments, and tools to edit the swing and/or the length of individual notes.

Sequel also supplies a range of mixing tools: Volume, Pan, EQ, Compressor. There's event effects for individual tracks and a Master Output channel with two variable Output Effects. Users can also automate volume, pan, mute, EQ, Bypass and all effects and instrument parameters.

There's also a slew of musical arrangement tools – users can assign up to 15 parts to Cue Pads for realtime arramgements and remixes; there's also variable jumps between bars of music, chain and automation tools and a realtime transposition tool for audio and instruments, or for the whole project.

Sound effects include:

- Delay: Ping Pong Delay, Stereo Delay
- Distortion: Amp Simulator, Distortion
- Dynamics: Compressor, Gate, Maximizer
- Modulation: Auto Pan, Chorus, Flanger, Phaser, Rotary, Tremolo, Vibrato
- Roomworks SE, Stereo Enhancer, Dual Filter
- Channel Equalizer: three-band with Lo/Hi Shelving EQ (w/ variable frequency), fully parametric mid-band with variable frequency and Q.

Sequel supports a wide array of file formats for the import and export of sound: WAV, AIFF, MP3, WMA, WMA Pro, OggVorbis, Standard MIDI file (SMF). Sequel can also export projects into iTunes with a single command, and also uses iTunes to burn CDs (on PC and Mac). SMF (Standard MIDI File) import and playback also features in the software.

System requirements for the Mac demand either a G5 or Intel processor running at 15GHz; 1GB RAM; 6GB hard disk space; Mac OS X 10.4 and a display resolution of 1,280-x-800 pixels. CoreAudio compatible audio hardware and a DVD drive are also required.

Windows users need a Pentium or Athlon 2GHz desktop machine, a 1.7GHz mobile PC or an Intel Core Duo 1.6GHz chip. Windows XP Home (SP2) or Windows Vista Home Basic are required. 1GB RAM, 6GB hard disk space and a display resolution of 1,280-x-800 pixels, and a DVD drive are also required.

Sequel will cost £74.99 (including VAT) when it ships in two weeks time.